Brad Birch’s 80-minute play is a riff on the idea of life being a series of reassuringly familiar, yet despairingly empty actions.
His two characters are a professional couple in their late twenties. They work, sleep, eat surrounded by the bleep of TVs, phones, radios and iPods. It’s a bland existence, where nothing really touches either of them. ‘My degree in business studies did not prepare me for being inconsequential,’ says the unnamed man – and the two of them continue like this until their veneer of normality begins to corrode.
It’s when they watch news reports about the war, a nameless, violent conflict, at odds with their pointless, numb lives, that a reaction is triggered. What follows is a meltdown, and by the end of it, their once pristine flat looks as though a bomb has hit it. The couple stage a revolution of sorts, they rebel against society, against their lives, against their ‘stuff’, all in both a shout of relief and a cry for help.
Birch’s play is a fluid poem, meandering through repetitive days, rolling through thoughts and speeches with a nicely judged turn of phrase, and there are two strong, convincing performances from Joe Dempsie and Lara Rossi at the production’s heart.
But what really makes you think is the way his two anonymous characters are so ordinary. Watching their anarchic but unstoppable descent makes it hit home how fine the line is between being happy and being unutterably sad.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell